The sun shone brightly on Saturday afternoon as the graduates of Bethel College’s class of 2014 made their way to Gates Gymnasium in the Weikamp Athletic Center for the annual commencement ceremony. The class of 2014 included 530 students, with 245 honored in the morning commencement and 285 honored in the afternoon commencement ceremonies. “Before the day is over,” remarked President Gregg Chenoweth, “we will have had five events. Six thousand of us will have come to celebrate by car, and train, and jet plane… This is a great day. We all are cheering for you.” Congresswoman Jackie Walorski gave the commencement address at the 4:30 p.m. ceremony. “Graduates, this is a day of great celebration for you,” said Walorski. “This is a day for your mark. Do your thing. Whatever your passion is down inside of you, (there are) no more days to ask permission. (There are) no more tests to take. It’s your time, graduates. This is your day, this is your future; go do what you’re going to do to change your part of the world.” Walorski shared a few stories about individuals who have challenged her through their impact on the world around them, and charged the Bethel College class of 2014 to do the same. “Leave here today with your head high, your shoulders square, a sparkle in your eye,” said Walorski. “Leave here confident of this very one thing the Apostle Paul decreed. Paul says, ‘I know the One in whom I place my trust. I am convinced that God is powerful enough to protect what He has placed in my trust until that day.’” The graduating class was joined by the 50-year class, the graduates of 1964. “In the last eight years, I’ve served on the board here at Bethel College,” said 1964 graduate Dick Riddle, “and the challenge has come from the students here at Bethel… So I thought, how can I challenge the students here? I don’t need to challenge them. You’re a challenge to us for what you’ve done in the community, and I’m sure you’re going to do that when you leave Bethel.” 2014 Professor of the Year Dr. Bob Laurent gave the blessing of the graduates. “The Lord Jesus gathered the disciples around Him and sent them out to preach the Good News,” said Laurent. “And He told them that when they came to a house that was worthy, they should leave that blessing at that house. You graduates have judged Bethel to be a worthy house, and we thank you for coming and for leaving your blessing on us. Now it’s our turn to bless you.” Student Council President Jacob Busscher, also a member of the class of 2014, issued a final challenge to the graduates. “We have lived our own Bethel life that has been different than any other class before us,” said Busscher. “Although our experiences have been unique, there is one unifying charge that ties all past, present, and future Bethel graduates together. In all circumstances, within our hearts, our actions, and, when necessary, our words, a Bethel graduate lives out the creed of ‘Forward, with Christ at the Helm.’” Following graduation, graduates had one last opportunity to say goodbye to their professors, who were gathered at various tents next to one of the ponds. There were smiles, hugs, laughter, and yes, even some tears. “It was really fun just walking across the stage,” said graduate Elaina Gillin. “I think right now, I’m just really excited to be here, seeing everyone, all my friends. It’s really great.” Graduate Aubrey Cowser echoed those sentiments. “It feels awesome,” said Cowser. “Just to walk across the stage and see all the people you’ve been with and made friends with these past four years, it’s just awesome!” A video of the 4:30 p.m. commencement ceremony can be found here.